Knitting the National Parks by Nancy Bates

During our time at Fort Frederica National Monument I enjoyed knitting hats from the book “Knitting the National Parks” by Nancy Bates.  My friend, Chris Ferlinc, gave me the book for my birthday and I really got into it while I was working at a National Park site.  As soon as we got to Fort Frederica, I recommended it to our book store manager, Ellen Provenzano.  She was delighted to order it.  It sold so well, we had a hard time keeping it on the shelves.

“Knitting the National Parks” is a wonderful book, even if you aren’t a knitter.  Nancy Bates combines her love of the national parks with her love of knitting.  She took a picture of each of the 63 National Parks and designed a hat around it.  The hat captures the imagination of the knitter as well as suggesting the beauty of the park.  Each chapter includes the inspiring picture, a brief description of the park, instructions for the hat, and a color chart for knitting the hat.

The knitting techniques for the hats differ.  Most of hats are stranded colorwork, but there are bobbles, lacy designs, cables, and even ripples.  I love the variety.  Each hat is different.  I don’t get bored doing the same thing over and over.  Knitting each hat takes me about a week, working on it occasionally so they are also fast.  And I can use a lot of yarn that I already have instead of buying new skeins.


So far I have knitted six of the hats.  I started with the Congaree hat because I already had the yarn for it.  I gave the hat to Ranger Jamieson who said that Congaree was her favorite national park (so far).

Mesa Verde

Then I made the Mesa Verde hat which is a bold, Anasazi-type design.

White Sands on display in bookstore

The White Sands hat was really fun because it has ripples and I had never knitted ripples before.  It made me think of the sand dunes.  I gave the Mesa Verde and White Sands hats to bookstore manager, Ellen Provenzano, so she could display them with the “Knitting the National Parks” book.  One of them has been next to the book whenever we have it in stock.


I knitted the Everglades hat and gave it Intern Sierra because she has spent a lot of time in the south.  It was really pretty with the stranded colorwork and the reflection of the trees in the water.

The Acadia had went to Intern Bailey.  The hat is supposed to look like the birchbark in a northern forest.  Bailey is from New Jersey, so the hat can remind her of the north.

Volunteer Ann asked for a North Cascades hat.  She loved the book but does not knit.  She bought the yarn and I knit the hat and it turned out really well.  I like the bright colors in it and the design was a little more symmetrical than most of the other hats.

My final hat of the season was the Mammoth Cave hat.  I knit it for Intern Nikki who is from St. Louis.  I was going to knit her the Gateway Arch hat but I didn’t have the right colors.  I loved the colors for Mammoth Cave and Kentucky is close to St. Louis.  Nikki was delighted with the hat and makes a super-cute model.

I have already packed my knitting project bag with patterns and yarns for more of the “Knitting the National Parks” hats.  It is ready for our trip to Cumberland Gap which is less than a month away.  I am enjoying knitting the hats and giving them away as thank yous to the people I work with in the parks.